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What’s the Most Serious Consequence of Neglecting to Change the Cabin Air Filter?

November 14, 2019 / in Cabin Air Filters
Last weekend, we all gained an hour of sleep by setting clocks back one hour to conclude the daylight-saving time period for 2019. And, at ECOGARD we always say that the beginning and end of daylight-saving time are good times to consider changing a car’s cabin air filter. Unfortunately, many people don’t act on this recommendation and will neglect the cabin air filter for far longer. This is likely because they don’t understand the real dangers of doing so – partly because of the way cabin air filters have been marketed. If it doesn’t smell bad, why go through the trouble of changing it? Please, allow us to explain.

Beyond Clean Air and Fresh Scents

Today, many brands are selling cabin air filters on the notion that no one wants to spend time in a smelly car if they can help it. The approach makes sense. I think most of us would agree that if a simple filter swap can remedy bad odors in the cabin, we’d be willing to try a change for a reasonable price. It’s an easy problem to solve for customers and their passengers because it’s something they can directly relate to and understand.

Reduced Climate Control Airflow Leads to Unsafe Driving Conditions

But what about the dangers that can’t be seen and the effects that might only be noticed gradually or during certain modes of operation? The reality is that a foul-smelling cabin is not the most pressing problem drivers will face if they never change the cabin air filter or don’t change it frequently enough. Sure, the musty aroma of a wet gym sock with a hint of mildew and a touch of mold would definitely bother me on my daily commute, but a windshield that won’t defog or defrost quickly would be even more prohibitive. Depending on the season or weather conditions, a clogged cabin air filter can be downright dangerous. Suddenly, a clean cabin air filter is less about comfort and more about safety.

foggy car windshield

Damage to the Car’s Climate Control System

With a clogged cabin air filter, the lack of airflow can be felt at the dashboard vents and will result in lackluster defrosting and defogging performance as well as reduced air conditioning and heating functionality. While these issues can definitely create unsafe driving conditions, there is another problem that customers should be aware of – and that problem is the added stress put on the system’s blower motor. In extreme cases, the clogged filter can completely obstruct the flow of air – either causing the blower motor to fail or suck the filter out of the housing along with all of the debris it’s filtered out. This is the most serious risk for anyone neglecting to change their cabin air filter because the result is acute failure of an important vehicle safety system which will be very expensive to fix.

You Know What They Say About Procrastination…

Changing the cabin air filter isn’t just about air quality – it’s both a safety concern and a climate control system maintenance requirement. It’s very easy to forget about this seemingly insignificant part, but please don’t procrastinate when it comes time to replace it. Not only will you be exposing yourself and your passengers to unnecessary airborne contaminants and possible illness, but you’re also putting the long-term health of your vehicle in jeopardy. If you’re an installer, make sure your customer understands the most serious risks in turning down cabin air filter service. We believe it’s a very small price to pay to ensure the longevity of a car’s climate control system and its critical components. ECOGARD recommends changing cabin air filters in both spring and fall. We’ve already set the clocks ahead, so what are you waiting for?

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